David GrĂ¼ning

David is a PhD student and researcher affiliated with the Department of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg and the Department of Survey Methodology and Design at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. Beyond his academic roles, he holds the position of research director for the consumption-regulating app "one sec," and he leads research efforts involving other applications like "Structured," "RoutineFlow," and "Subwords." Additionally, he serves as the chair of the Science Board within the Prosocial Design Network (PDN).

His current research is primarily focused on the development of digital and app-based interventions designed to apply psychological mechanisms within online environments. He aims to accurately measure the effects of these interventions using both subjective methods such as self-reports and objective measures like digital behavior screening. His work encompasses two main dimensions. Firstly, he engages in direct applied research, where he works on creating, refining, and documenting digital interventions in a manner that is accessible and understandable to the general public. Secondly, he displays an interest in theoretical approaches within the field, including categorical frameworks that distinguish between different types of interventions, while also addressing existing gaps in the current body of literature. Ultimately, his goal is to enable individuals to take on the role of architects for their own digital worlds.

Is reducing our digital consumption the solution?

While the digital world enriches people's lives in many ways, research also reports many serious risks connected to excessive consumption. Such overuse is reported to be negatively associated with a number of physical (e.g., poor sleep quality), psychological (e.g., anxiety and stress), and social (e.g., reduced interpersonal interactions) factors. Reducing digital consumption has been shown to have a positive impact on these relevant dimensions of well-being. The prominent conclusion from this is that merely reducing digital consumption is the solution. This conclusion is premature. Recent studies show that the observed negative effects depend not solely on the amount, but also on the type of digital consumption of a person. The studies distinguish between mindless and intentional online consumption. Under these findings, it seems central to help individuals manage their digital consumption beyond merely reducing it. Researchers and technologists should provide people with the tools to embrace intentional and regulate mindless action in the digital world.